4 Common Stihl Ms 291 Problems + Troubleshooting

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You are not the only one having challenges with your STIHL MS-291 chainsaw. A lot of users are. 

I myself was a victim of an STIHL MS-291 engine problem; little did I know it was a common illness for this unit.

After conquering mine, I went on a quest to find simple DIY troubleshooting tips for four of the most common Stihl MS 291 problems –though I had a little help from a buddy who is a professional mechanic.

So, I have listed them here. The fixes are not rocket science. None of them requires you to break the big tools —just a look here and there with a few tweaks, and your chainsaw is up and running. 

4 Common Stihl Ms 291 Problems And Their Fixes

1. Engine Problems

The most predominant problem is a scorching engine.

However, your engine could overheat, and it is not a problem. 

It is common when you run the chainsaw for an extensive period, particularly under hot weather. 

If not, using a lean fuel mixture could be the lead cause or clogged cooling fin.

Refer to the user manual for the proper fuel mixture and how to properly clean and free of debris from the fins. 

Sometimes, the engine can stall or run crazy. This is a tell-tale sign of a carburetor misalignment. 

You can consult the user manual for comprehensive guidelines or seek professional service, as this is quite a sensitive issue, and you don’t want to screw things up. 

Some users complain their engine coughs excessive smoke or carbon deposits. 

Two things are involved: fuel quality and the dirty spark arrestor. 

Using high-quality gasoline with 2-cycle oil and the appropriate mixture ratio would be best. 

If the spark arrestor at the muffler is clogged with carbon deposits, clean it to ensure proper exhaust flow. 

2. Fuel System Issues

Fuel line leakage and carburetor problems are all fuel system issues. 

You might see your chainsaw leaking fuel. Whenever that happens, there has been a Breakage in the fuel lines. You will have to inspect the area and replace them immediately. 

Carburetor problems are often linked to fuel or oil mix that results in maladjustment and should be inspected if it needs cleaning or adjustment. 

3. Electrical problems

Most users associate starting problems with electrical issues, like Loss of Power. 

If you are experiencing either of these issues, here are the potential causes: 

Three things are keen to prick up starting problems: dirty spark plug and air filter, or the ignition coil or wire is disconnected or damaged. 

Some users forget to flip the on/off switch to the “on” position before starting the engine. The chainsaw won’t start that way. 

Ensure you have taken care of the basics before insinuating it could be an electrical issue. 

Inspect the spark plug. If it is dirty, clean it thoroughly, same as the air filter. 

Sometimes, the carburetor can make the engine run unevenly or stall. 

Proper alignment may help, but let a professional handle it if you have little or no knowledge of what you are doing after consulting the owner’s manual.

4. Chain And Bar Problems

An improper chain tension will result in a bogus or loose chain that poses a safety hazard.

You can address this issue by simply tightening the tension screws along the sides of the guiding bar. The user manual shows you how to do this properly. 

Sometimes, a worn-out drive sprocket or heel bar could be the cause.

A dull chain is another issue to keep an eye on. As the chainsaw constantly works his socks off, it gets blunt or damaged over time. This could decrease cutting performance, increase effort, and provide a rough finish on the wood. 

You can use a chainsaw file to rectify this problem or a dedicated chain sharpener. 

Also, check if the bar is bent and straightened with a mullet or a hammer. However, if the damage is significant, replace it with a new one.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does The Stihl 291 Chainsaw Have An Anti-Vibration System?

Yes, it does. 

Stihl MS 291 has an anti-vibration system that pipes down vibration transfer. 

The engine has anti-vibration buffers that isolate vibration from the handles and frame. 

This helps minimize operator fatigue during prolonged use. 

Can The Stihl Ms 291 Chainsaw Be Used For Professional Purposes?

No, it can’t.  Look at the guide bar length! It is only 16 to 20 inches. 

Heavy-duty forestry work demands a chainsaw with a longer guide bar to make deep and convenient cuts. 

Besides, the STIHL 291 doesn’t have the minerals (features or components) to take on large-scale tree removal for an extended period. It will strain the engine.  Consider a more powerful model like the STIHL MS 881 or 880.

What Job Can You Use The Stihl Ms 291 For?

As I said, this STIHL MS 291 isn’t designed for professional application. 

Instead, it is a choice for farmers, landscapers, and gardeners who want to fall small to medium trees, trimming or pruning their branches and limbs for firewood.

It can also take on DIY construction projects like building structures, cutting lumber, and other causal cuttings. 

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Stihl Ms 291 Chainsaw?

Stihl claims their chainsaws can survive 2,000 hours of malicious work. 

If you put 2,000 hours into days, months, and years, you should arrive at around five years and five months of minimum use before it spoils beyond repair. 

However, that math needs to be more accurate, as the frequency of use and maintenance could decrease or increase the number of years left. 

Your chainsaw is less likely to last that long if it is dedicated to heavy professional use yet gets little to no maintenance care. 


In conclusion, not everyone will encounter these stihl ms 291 problems. There are thousands of 5-star reviews on this model. Positive experience upon positive experience. 

This proves my point that some users go through their daily jobs using MS 291 without a single complaint. 

Is their unit different from yours? No, it is not. It is just a game of maintenance, how often you use it, and the kind of job you use it for. 


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